He mostly laid off his rivals and he barely boasted about his standing in the polls: Donald Trump appears to be recalibrating his campaign as he seeks to regain footing after a disappointing second-place finish in Iowa.
Trump, who usually holds one or two massive rallies a day, instead opened here Thursday with a small rally at Exeter’s New England-style Town Hall: “This is really crunch time,” Trump told the audience crammed into the hall, which dates to 1856. “You’re going to play such a big role, such a massive role. The whole world is focused on this area.”
Most notably, Trump, who largely eschews traditional politicking in favor of giant events, stepped up his appearances ahead of Tuesday’s primary, adding retail outreach to his day, including a meeting with small business leaders and a visit to the Manchester Police Department. There he signed a wall and several patches and promised police officers they’d be “recognized properly” under a Trump administration.
“You know when you go and you speak a little bit rough to somebody and you end up fighting for your job, it’s not going to happen anymore,” he said. He was to hold another town hall Thursday night in Portsmouth.
Trump – who on Wednesday launched a Twitter assault accusing rival Ted Cruz of stealing a win in Iowa – made only a not-so-veiled reference to the Texas senator as he blasted the concept of “anchor babies.”
Trump, who generally laces his campaign speeches with recitations of his poll numbers, mentioned only one, saying he’s leading among Hispanics in Nevada. Several polls since the Iowa caucus have shown the Republican race tightening and Trump losing ground.
Still, hundreds of Trump fans were turned away from the town hall, prompting Trump to ask if anyone wanted to be “good neighbors” and switch positions with them.
“No,” the crowd roared.
The intensified campaigning came as Trump began airing a new ad in New Hampshire, part of an $850,000 ad buy the campaign made last week. It includes footage of Trump events showcasing the crowds he’s drawn.